Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Joy questions demand to free photographer Shahidul Alam

  • Staff Correspondent,
    Published: 2018-08-10 20:55:14 BdST


Sajeeb Wazed Joy has questioned those defending and demanding freedom of photographer-activist Shahidul Alam arrested on charges of spreading panic amidst student protests for safe roads.

“If Shahidul Alam is innocent only because he is accomplished and famous, then does that make me above the law as well since I am accomplished and famous too?” he asked in a Facebook post on Friday.

Rights groups and activists are demanding release of Shahidul after police arrested the founder of Drik Gallery and Pathshala South Asian Media Institute on Aug 5 in an ICT Act case.

He is charged with attempting to spread ‘fear and panic’ on the internet using ‘fantastical and provocative lies’ during the students’ road safety movement.

On Thursday, rights activist Sultana Kamal said the government was “out to frighten all by torturing Shahidul in custody”. 

Joy, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s son and ICT affairs adviser, wrote: “As an accomplished and famous person in Bangladesh, during these past protests suppose I had made a series of sensational posts on Facebook claiming that our activists had been attacked and killed by youth outside a private university. Then based on my posts our activists became enraged and attacked that university.

“Would I be guilty of inciting violence or am I protected by freedom of speech?” he asked.

“I have no doubt that our so called "civil society" and the foreigners and journalists chiming in on Shahidul Alam's behalf would have headlined that the Prime Minister's son incited violence,” he wrote.

Shahidul did “exactly what I gave as an example above”, Joy went on.

Students became enraged and attacked the police and the ruling Awami League’s Dhanmondi offices “because of Shahidul’s false posts and allegations”, according to Joy.

“Many policemen and several of our activists were injured. One of them, Arafatul Islam Bappy even lost his eyesight and is now permanently crippled.

“Does he not deserve justice?” he asked.